Movie Review: Paprika
Release Date: October 7, 2006
· Satoshi Kon
· Megumi Hayashibara
· Akio Ohtsuka
· NY Film Festival "Paprika" page
by Jonathan Baylis
Published: October 10, 2006
Growing up on healthy doses of "Battle of the Planets" (Gatchaman) and "Robotech" (Macross) didn't turn me into an obsessive anime fan. Later in life, "Akira" didn't drive me over the edge either, and Miyazaki's movies felt like tree-hugging propaganda to me. But despite all this, every once in a while, I'll take a dip into the pool and see what the mizu's like.
A scientist has created a machine called the DC-Mini that enables them to record, and even enter, people's dreams. It's meant to serve as a therapist's tool, but of course, someone's out to use it for E-V-I-L! "Paprika" is the avatar for Dr. Atsuko Chiba (voiced by Megumi Hayashibara), the heroine (of sorts) of this film. Initially, Paprika tries to help a cop, Detective Konakawa (Akio Ohtsuka), get past some bad dreams he's been having about a tough case, but Konakawa gets sucked into more than he's signed up for.
Someone has stolen one of the working DC-mini prototypes and is messing with Chiba's colleagues, throwing them into dream states where they are hurting themselves as well as others. But the shinto really hits the fan when the dream world starts spilling into the waking world causing all kinds of hell for Tokyo. Can Paprika and Konakawa stop the "psycho terrorist" before it's too late?
This is the first film I've seen at this year's New York Film Festival. Director Satoshi Kon successfully weaves a tale that lives between dreaming and waking and executes a vision that is nothing less than stunning. He's able to portray the non-logical realities in dreams, without losing a sense of the narrative. Kon takes objects and toys that seem friendly and comforting and turns them into nightmares. Indeed, the subconscious is scary!
Do avatars dream of electric sheep?
"Paprika" is a smart, tense, thrill-ride of a movie. This dream noir was fascinating!
P.S. - I don't know if this film has American Distribution yet, but if it gets some, can you PLEASE change the color of the subtitle text? Too much white on white in this film. What is this, the B&W imported films of the 60s?
Other anime we've recently reviewed:
The Castle of Cagliostro (Lupin the III) - Special Edition
Howl's Moving Castle
Whisper of the Heart
Aeon Flux (Animated)